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The latch of a door of an abandoned house can be moved but not easily because the door has been closed for years. Maybe, the latch is rusty.

Is it correct to say "The latch is in friction. I can't move it easily"?

Do we have a word to express we can not move something easily because of its friction?

  • 1
    No, we wouldn't refer to friction in everyday conversation. Something that can be moved, but only with difficulty, is often described as stiff. Oxford Dictionaries says not moving as freely as is usual or desirable; difficult to turn or operate. Commented Mar 8, 2021 at 9:01

1 Answer 1


FeliniusRex is right, the best terms to use relate to the verb stick: the relevant meaning is intransitive, and for intransitive words the participles have different meanings to those for transitive verbs.

We generally use the past participle about things that got into a particular state in the past, and is still in that state. We use the present participle about a state that exists intermittently, or that exists now but hasn't always been that way and might not stay that way.

If something won't move at all, we therefore use the past participle.

the latch is stuck.

If something moves with difficulty, or sometimes it moves and sometimes it doesn't, we can use the present tense, with some frequency qualifier:

The latch sometimes sticks.

Alternatively, we can use the present participle:

The latch is sticking.

Here is an example that uses both the participle and present simple in relation to a harpsichord key that intermittently sticks:

Be sure that it is the key, rather than the jack, that is sticking. Use the test described in the last chapter: remove the jacks that are operated by the sticking key and try the key again. If the key still sticks, that is indeed where the problem is. - The Harpsichord owner's guide - Edward L. Kottick

  • Quick question, without any bad intention, I have been criticised for not referencing my source when answering a question in a similar manner. Why?
    – Brad
    Commented Mar 8, 2021 at 10:01
  • @Brad, that's a good question. Do you provide references? In this case I have provided a reference to another answer, which is now hidden. I have updated my answer to provide a dictionary reference.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Mar 8, 2021 at 10:17
  • I have often seen high points people not post a ref so thought maybe there was a thing that you don't need to if your a respected member or something. Usually I post them if. Sometimes if I am just explaining something to a non native speaker, I don't though, I must I am guilty in that case
    – Brad
    Commented Mar 8, 2021 at 10:31
  • @Brad Comments probably aren't the best place for this discussion. If you would like to take this further, we can set up a private chat and I can give you some pointers how to improve some of your recent answers.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Mar 8, 2021 at 11:04

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